6 Off the Beaten Track Islands in the Philippines

The Philippines is considered by many to be one of the greatest destinations for those travellers seeking out an adventure. It offers everything from breathtaking landscapes to stunning white sand beaches to electrifying city streets, so no matter your travel interests you’ll find it during your time in the Philippines. You can plan a trip catering to your own personal travel preferences and truly experience these islands to the fullest.

The best part of this culturally enlightening country? There are tonnes of islands to choose from, and while some of these are booming with tourism, others are extremely remote. For those wanting to experience the Philippines by taking the road less traveled, check out these six off the beaten track islands. Chances are you have never heard of them, but don’t be surprised if you choose to visit them all!

White Island Camiguin

Cibang Cove in Calayan Island

Located in Cagayan’s Calayan Island, Cibang Cove is as remote as it gets. If you are hoping for complete peace and quiet, this is the place for you. Calayan as a whole is considered to be one of the least explored islands in the entire Philippines, and there is a reason for this. Travelling to this island is no easy feat; you have to pass through many ports and face some of the largest waves in the Babuyan Seas, and the final boat ride through choppy surf could take as long as nine hours depending on your port of departure.

But the journey is well worth it once you arrive at Calayan. The locals are friendly, the beaches are secluded, and the views are nothing less than breathtaking. The main attraction that will take your breath away is Cibang Cove. The pristine white sand beaches are striking against the blue of the ocean, and the cove’s shoreline is littered with huge rock formations. Other than the cove, be sure to spend time Nagudungan Hills. The climb is difficult and not for everyone, but once you get to the top you’ll be surrounded by panoramic views of Calayan.

Camiguin Island in Northern Mindanao

Camiguin is known as the ‘Island Born of Fire’, and this remote island off the northern coast of Mindanao is volcanic, beautiful and quiet. It’s yet to be hit by mass tourism, as being in the southern Philippines, this is an area that many visitors choose to stay away from. It’s perfectly safe to visit though and make the effort and you will be rewarded with spectacular volcanic peaks and tumbling waterfalls. Off the coast of Camiguin too, can be found White Island, one of the purest, softest, sandbars in the entirety of the Philippines.

White Island Camiguin

Antonia Beach in Isla de Gigantes Sur

You can book tours anywhere in the Philippines and Isla de Gigantes Sur is one of the most stunning destinations in the country. Some might be shocked to discover that there are no resorts or hotels located on the island. If you wish to stay here, you actually have to stay with locals, or else rent a boat and make it a day trip. Antonia Beach is one of the hidden gems of the island. One side of the beach faces the open sea, while the other has calm waters all year round.

Antonia Beach is an ideal spot for snorkeling, swimming, and exploring the rock formations along the beach. Be sure to pack your snorkel gear if you wish to explore the underwater world, but if not you have plenty of other opportunities for adventure activities. To get here, you’ll need to take a ferry from Estancia Port about two hours to Isla de Gigantes Sur and from there it another thirty minutes to Antonia Beach.

Dumog Sandbar in Bohol

The remoteness of the Dumog Sandbar is easy to understand once you’ve arrived and experienced it. Dumog is literally in the middle of nowhere – or rather in the middle of the ocean between Bohol and Cebu. This sandbar remains above water during low tide, and one end of it extends a few hundred meters out to sea, submerged just barely under water. You can walk along the sandbar and it is the closest feeling to walking on water.

During your time here, you can explore the rocky islet, swim, and snorkel – but don’t go too far since you are in fact in the middle of the ocean! The sandbar is so small that you can only visit for several hours, and there is no option for staying overnight. But you will see that there is one lone structure on Dumog that is home to the sandbar’s caretaker and protector. This man ensures the safety and integrity of Dumog by keeping away dynamite fishers from the area.

Malamawi Island in Isabela City, Basilan

There are tonnes of tourists and locals alike that would never dream of travelling to the province of Basilan; this area is often associated with crime and military conflicts of the past. But if you are willing to overlook this, Basilan is an amazing off the beaten track island that you won’t regret taking a chance on, specifically if you visit the province’s Malamawi Island. The island is just five minutes from Basilan’s capital of Isabela City, and is considered perfectly safe for tourists. Part of Malamawi beach is home to an island resort for tourists with tons of activities offered, but most of the island is fairly secluded and you’ll definitely get a good dose of alone time when you visit.

Abak Beach in Capul Island

Abak Beach might be considered eerie to some travelers, but the waters surrounding the beach are nothing short of stunning. The area is lined with abandoned beach huts and there’s a good chance you won’t see another soul in sight. You’ll get a completely different vibe when you explore the other end of the island away from Abak Beach. There are several beach resorts for tourists, so you’ll get a chance to experience both sides of Capul.

Richard Collett